Dress Up Lebanon : The Story Begins

PhotoStory in collaboration with Kamsyn – https://kamsyn.com/2016/12/15/dress-up-lebanon-first-story/

Cozied up in Le Telegraphe de Belle-Vue’s  finely decorated Hotel or enjoying the blossoming rose garden while sipping a glass of red wine, we reminisced on the days when Bhamdoun was a prized summer destination. First a village reliant on the cultivation of vineyards, from the 1940s until the civil war Bhamdoun bustled as a summer escape for Beiruti vacationers and tourists from the Gulf. They mingled in the village cafés over a game of tawlé or cards, biked in the streets or gathered for ‘thé dansant’ at one of the hotels’ ballrooms.

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Timi Hayek & Marie-Sophie Tarazi making it through the Mist / Urban Sense     Photo Kamsyn

As we set out on a journey to highlight Lebanon’s beauty, we decided to pair this historic location with the work of talented local designers: Second Street’s cool and creative shirts, Urban Sense’s casual and minimalist clothes and Timi Hayek’s elegant ensembles in hues of gold and silver fit beautifully within the charming surroundings. Models Timi, Marie-Sophie and Joelle roamed through the picturesque setting stylishly appropriating the designers’ outfits.

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The Location: Le Telegraphe de Bellevue

Nestled among the vineyards of Bhamdoun stands a beautiful mansion that served as the telegraph station of Mount Lebanon before becoming the summer residence of the French Ambassador to Iraq and Jordan.

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Timi is in Urban Sense   Photo Kamsyn

After years living in the United States and London, Naji and Jill Boutros (financier and teacher, by trade) chose to settle in the village with their young family. In 2000 they started planting organic vineyards, and began producing their own fine wine, Chateau Belle-Vue. Four years ago, the project expanded as they opened a restaurant and boutique hotel, Le Telegraphe, adding colour, energy and optimism to the area while placing Bhamdoun back on the map of coveted getaways for Beirutis and tourists.

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Timi & Marie-Sophie wandering through Le Telegraphe Hotel Gardens Urban Sense   Photo Kamsyn
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Marie-Sophie  Urban Sense  Photo Kamsyn

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Urban Sense was born from a difficult situation turned around with brio by the dynamic founder. After studying law and working as a Communication consultant, Cynthia Chamat started managing a couple of fashion boutiques. In Spring 2014, the merchandise ordered did not arrive and Cynthia thus created her own collection to display in store, which became a success. She continues to revisit classics, gilets that can be worn as tops, reversible coats and transformable dresses, catering to all shapes and sizes. Her space Boutique Hub. in Sodeco is now a collaboration hub where a selection of Lebanese designers pieces complement each other.

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Joelle Habib Sarkis & Marie-Sophie Tarazi in Urban Sense  Photo Kamsyn

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Timi Hayek is wearing Urban Sense   Photo Kamsyn

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Two young ladies, Tracy Moussi and Sarah Hermez met on Second Street in Alphabet City, New York, while pursuing their studies at the Parsons School of Design. They discovered a mutual passion and desire to use fashion as a gateway to encourage talents and initiatives. At the end of 2014, Second Street was born, a brand characterized by a fresh, innovative take on the classic shirt, an emphasis on quality and fabric exploration and a socially conscious approach. Part of the proceeds is donated to The Creative Space a design school, founded by Sarah in 2011 and boosted by Tracy’s public relations know-how, offering the opportunity for free quality education to talents from underprivileged backgrounds.

To vote for Second.St in the Maison Méditerranée International Contest  Click Here

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Joelle Habib Sarkis is wearing Second.st   Photo Kamsyn
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Timi is wearing Second.st    Photo Kamsyn
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Marie-Sophie   Second.st     Photo Kamsyn
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Joelle  Second.st     Photo Kamsyn
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Timi is wearing Second.st     Photo Kamsyn

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A multi-faceted designer, Timi Hayek studied Fashion Print at Central Saint Martin and interned with renowned houses Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. She was selected as part of the Starch Foundation 2014 promotion, and displayed her collection for a year at their concept store in Saifi. She then established her brand and boutique in Monnot where she handcrafts her garments in the upstairs atelier. Her style is airy, whimsical and elegant. The designer uses fine fabrics such as linen, velvet or silk that she embellishes with delicate embroideries or her unique illustrations.

To vote for Timi Hayek in the Maison Méditerranée International Contest Click Here

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Timi Hayek     Photo Kamsyn
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Timi Hayek   Photo Kamsyn
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Joelle setting-up the Scabble board    Timi Hayek      Photo Kamsyn
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Timi Hayek     Photo Kamsyn
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Joelle    Timi Hayek    Photo Kamsyn
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Timi Hayek    Photo Kamsyn

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Seriously fun fashion

Rytta Couture’s style is fun and playful with colorful bits of embroidery, leather or hand-paint. A charming breath of fresh air on local fashion, her clothes take us outside, to the yard.

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Photo by Leo Ribet

The latest Rytta Couture collection ‘Take me to the Yard’ reflects the designer’s fun approach to fashion. She adorns her styles with multi-colored hand-sewn motifs of butterflies, birds, leaves or ribbons and sprinkles bits of leather and ruffles here and there. The collection was presented at Manoir de la Roseraie in Grignan in the south east of France, where the springtime flowers on dresses bloomed in the garden setting of the show. Rytta punctuated neutral hues of white and beige with a pastel gamme of colours and hand paints. The designer’s atelier is in Ashrafieh where she is now preparing for her upcoming collection with her characteristic laid-back creativity.

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Photo by Leo Ribet

Rytta fell into fashion from a young age. Her mother was a seamstress who created made to measure dresses and the young child would assist her in cutting and taking measurements. She was fascinated by Barbie and created mini outfits for the doll, which caught the eyes of her mom’s customers who would sometimes request the same model in real size. This encouraged Rytta to study fashion design and she then worked for a men sportswear company gaining hands on experience in sourcing fabrics, buttons, zippers and other paraphernalia that she know playfully applies to her cheerful clothes. Her true penchant was however design, and she started hand-painting shirts first for men, then for women in local markets before opening a shop. Rytta Couture’s designs can now be found at Cream in Saifi and Toxic in Kaslik.

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Photo by Saad Salloum – Skylinkd

📱: +961 3 753654
🌍: http://www.ryttacouture.com

 

Neighborhood Fashion Tour – Badaro

Developed as a residential area with a handful of restaurants and shops before the civil war, Badaro has experienced an awakening in the past couple of years and is now home to a growing number of cool cafés, bars and restaurants. On the lookout for exciting concept stores, the street at first glance seemed reticent but with some rummaging through Badaro and its surroundings turned out to be home to some striking creative minds.

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Luanatic – A boutique with a fresh and witty take on Lebanese slang. Luana, a graphic designer, spreads Lebanese talk such as Tout tout 3a Beirut and Min Habibi Ana? through posters, magnets, phone covers, mugs, bags and other daily objects. A gentle way to smile at our local quirks; the souvenirs make an amusing introduction to Lebanese distinctive expressions.

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Cocoa & Co – In the colorful atelier, tasty and sweetly decorated cookies and cakes are in the making. The owner Hala started baking at home for her children’s parties and the story of Cocoa & Co began in 2008. The sweets tell tales of cartoons, smiley faces, happy occasions and groovy creations such as a chocolate pizza with a cookie crust, topped with cereals, smarties and marshmallows.

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ByRania – In the boudoir style boutique, swing skirts, flowing gilets and modernized Abayas bring bright touches of color. The designer Rania welcomes her clients with advice and personalized pieces. She started painting on porcelain before shifting to clothing and accessories ten years ago. Rania sprinkles hand paints and graphic prints on dresses, caps and sneakers adding a pop vibe to her outfits.

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Mastike – C-Lab (Creative Lab) – A bric-a-brac of fascinating finds from local furniture designers, vintage boutiques abroad or objects created by the owners; a group of young talented graphic designers, architects and engineers who founded in 2004 the C-Lab studio located above the store. Opened three years ago, the boutique holds recycled glass blown and molded into lamps, wooden palettes from a nearby construction site turned into a coffee table, a garbage container up-cycled as a sofa and an old metro cabin phone.

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Pipe Brothers– Water pipes have taken over one section of an electronics store. About a year ago, Tony started transforming old water pipes into decorative objects. In the store, playful shapes of lamps are disposed on an ingenious bookshelf made of re-used pipes and wooden boards. Using recycled and up-cycled materials, the owner designs custom objects for homes, pubs and restaurants.

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Le Marzipan – An iconic shop in the area, Le Marzipan has been concocting Aleppo specialties since 1965. Artisanal recipes are used to handcraft the delicacies with pistachio and almonds as key ingredients. A sweet taste of tradition transmitted through delicious marzipans, sugared almonds, chocolate pralines, loukoums, rose syrup and jellab.

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The National Museum of Beirut – The beautiful museum holds testimonies of the region’s tumultuous evolution from Prehistory to Ottoman periods, with stops through the Bronze and Iron ages, the Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine periods. Envisioned since the 1919, the museum was inaugurated in 1937 and later destroyed by the civil war. Renovations ended in 1999 and the museum stands again as a beacon of a rich cultural heritage for Lebanon.

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Neighborhood Fashion Tour – Monot

Monot street originally developed around Saint Joseph University and Collège des Jésuites. The street emerged from its scars after the war into a bustling nightlife neighborhood. The buzz has since moved to other areas and Monot is now looking for its identity. Walking down the street you will find dilapidated but charming traditional houses and buildings along some renovations and new constructions. Few restaurants and bars have remained from the 90s and some new exciting concepts are now emerging.

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Vide-Posh – The treasure hunt starts here. Vide-Posh holds coveted items for home décor; teacups, lamps, vases, clocks, hangers, tableware, jars. The owner Pascale Sloukgi selects each item with taste and also offers home décor advice. In two adjacent rooms, the bucolic themed with pastel shaded flowers, rustic woods and patina aged white furniture, and the other with more trendy touches of concrete or copper and to-do list boards, finishing touches for a dream kitchen, bedroom, living room or terrace can be found in this boutique.

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Filigrane – Customized house linen; embroidered tablecloth, hemstitched American sets, or printed cushions designed by a graffiti artist, crafted in workshops across Lebanon make up the store selection. In the 1980s, Josette Dahdah, who lived in Paris, decided to bring her contribution to a torn Lebanon. She designed house linen and partnered with women back home for sewing and embroidery, providing them with a source of income. Her daughter Youmna joined in 2009 and Filigrane is now a concept store, sharing the space with Eat Sunshine, a healthy and tasty eatery, and the events staffing company Diffa.

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Timi Hayek – The multi-talented designer featured in a previous article on the blog. In her upstairs atelier, she designs her collections then works on her machine to make each outfit come to shape after carefully selecting the fabrics. Shift dresses printed with Timi’s illustrations, long flowing dresses, wave cropped tops paired with matching pink plissé skirts or linen sprinkled with summery embroidery make up her poetic spring summer collection.

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Photo by Timi Hayek

Dodo les bobos – In a soothing pastel ambiance with a modern factory feel introduced by steel fixtures, Dodo les bobos proposes a wide selection of European branded furniture for babies and children. Cradles, shelves, table sets, lamps , bed sheets and wallpaper are displayed in authentic settings to give parents decoration ideas for their children’s bedrooms.

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La Rose de Sim – La Rose de Sim revisits Middle Eastern heritage into unique clutches and colorful jewelry. Nestled in the second floor of a beautiful old building, La Rose de Sim takes a nostalgic, and sometimes humorous look at our cultural heritage turning a characteristic ceramic floor tile, a Gebran quote or a family story into vibrant prints for the playful leather handbags.

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Oh! Bakehouse – In this mouthwatering pastry shop, the cakes and breads are gluten-free and lactose-free. The owner Rena Dagher came up with the idea after a family history of gluten intolerance, she wanted to demonstrate that eating gluten free does not necessarily mean sacrifice. With the delicious fruit pies, carrot, almond and chocolate cakes, and salty treats, the mission is now accomplished and she will soon add sandwiches to the menu.

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Le Domaine des Tourelles – Founded in Chtaura in 1868 by Frenchman François-Eugène Brun, Le Domaine des Tourelles is a pioneer in Lebanon’s winemaking industry. The winery is now owned by a pair composed of a winemaker and an entrepreneur dedicated to safeguarding the domain’s heritage. In the wine cellar named ‘La Boutique” where you can find the classic Red, White or Rosé, Marquis des Beys and the Arak Brun, a bar has been designed to host group tastings and events.

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Barjis by Janan B. – The designer Janan works with traditional fabrics and styles revisiting them in a funky modern way. She adds bright touches of colour to a Abaya, or sherwal, transforms the traditional keffia into a hoodie style gilet and complements her collection with lace or crochet tops and dresses. Most of the designs are handmade and the store also offers a line of jewelry and shoes with multicolored pompons, pearls and feathers.

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Beit Beirut – The iconic house was a residential building before it turned into a sniper landmark, located on the demarcation line during the civil war. Beit Beirut, previously owned by the Barakat family, will be turned into a museum on the memory of the war.

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Inside Tony Ward’s atelier

Tony Ward’s dresses are sought after by fashionistas across the world, but the stunning creations emanate from his headquarters in Ashrafieh. The designer invites us behind the walls of his atelier, to discover the place where imagination turns to wardrobe.

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Dozens of hands are at work to create the dreamy dresses for Tony Ward’s collections. First designers and patternmakers brainstorm ideas that they test, and alter on mannequins. Motifs are illustrated on paper to represent the elaborate designs that will come to shape on the fine fabric. Then tailors create unique cuts and shapes, and embroiderers apply crystals, sequins or silk flowers that will give the magical touch to the tulle, lace and macramé outfits. The house of Ward is a family business. His father Elie who has started the business in the early 1950s participates in training of the teams, while his mother coordinates planning and human resources.

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Photos by Carl Halal – Courtesy of Tony Ward

The atelier is divided in three floors; couture, ready-to-wear and bridal. A step inside the couture quarters reveals talented artisans working on delicate details. Precious fabric is reversed and then beads or glossy silk thread are meticulously applied along complex motifs to give way to patterns of flowers or leaves with inserts of feathers. The couture creations will be worn on red carpets or to glamorous soirées from Los Angeles, to Moscow, Rome or Beijing. In ready-to-wear, clients also have their mannequin effigies to ensure a perfect fit. Pieces are put together with expertise and care, with delicate finishing touches of embroideries or hand painting. The most coveted room is the immaculate bridal atelier, where dresses made of elaborate lace, gazar or tulle with silk petals are gracefully prepared in time for romance.

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Neighborhood Fashion Tour – Clemenceau

An upscale residential area with beautiful mansions and charming buildings before the 15 years war, Clemenceau is now getting a facelift with new high rises and business centers. A handful of inventive shops are bringing an inviting vibe to the area and making Clemenceau a must to visit on the Beirut fashion map.

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Cookie Dough The land of sweetness, from cute clothes for the little ones, to a wonderland display and care the owner puts to organize events and consulting sessions accompanying parents through welcoming their child home. Cookie Dough sets you up with style to pamper your loved ones; clothing up to 12 years old, childcare products, nursery furniture and gifts such as fine jewelry.

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Piaff The iconic store is a reference for fashion since 1980. In a design ambiance the store presents statement pieces for day and evening wear. Piaff introduces Beirut to some of the coolest brands in clothing and accessories from Tsumori Chisato’s urban comfort to Marco de Vicenzo’s elegant dresses, or Jimi Roos cartoonish embroidered sneakers and Rafé ‘s architectural minaudières.

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Pop Up Pocket With a casual sporty feel, Pop Up Pocket selects hip items of clothing and accessories for those seeking a distinctive style. One of the rare stores in Beirut to cater to trendy Men, as well as to women and children, the stores carries brands such as Swedish Acne Studios or Japanese Comme des Garçons Play. Quirky and fun Pop Up Pocket is ideal to find unconventional accessories and gifts.

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Jacaranda The owner of Jacaranda has a true passion for flowers and plants that she nurtured through books and attending courses with the most recognized professionals in Paris. She spends most of her time in her flower shop, and prepares each bouquet herself adding an enchanting touch of color and warmth to the streets of Clemenceau.

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Noir é Blanc – This little boutique is decorated like a doll house with jars of multicolored sugared almonds on the shelves, boxes of chocolate and coated shortbread biscuits with healthy choices behind glass frames, and a pastel pink tea set with a view on Clemenceau street. The delicious chocolates are handmade in Tripoli.

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L’Artisan du Liban – This year, L’Artisan du Liban celebrates its 35 years anniversary. The store is a window for the various crafts of Lebanon. Copper worked in Saida, Rashaya and Tripoli, glass from Sarafand or Tripoli, and cutlery with inlaid mosaics from Jezzine, L’Artisan du Liban has been highlighting the fine works of artisans across Lebanon, contributing to the conservation of these precious traditions.

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Dar el Nimer at Villa Salem – A must visit, ‘At the Seams’ is an outstanding exhibition on the history of Palestinian embroidery, curated by Rachel Dedman. Dating from more than 100 years old to today, the dresses tell the story of the women who embroidered and wore them. Patches added to hide worn off fabric from work or for breastfeeding, different patterns and motifs for each region before modern transportation brought new hybrid designs, and foreign influences for urban ladies who incorporated details such as french cut or silk fabrics in their traditional dress, that they wore only on occasions, as they had adopted a more western clothing style since the early 1900s, while embroidered dresses remained the daily outfit for rural women. (The exhibition lasts until July 30)

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Timi Hayek: the busy bee

Timi Hayek’s boutique in Monot is a breath of fresh air. In a relaxed ambiance of wood and light colors the designer is meticulously at work on her pastel shaded new collection.

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Under Timi’s slender and expert fingers, textures, fabrics and landscapes that inspire her, become a light toned, casual chic wardrobe. The clothes are airy in soft fabrics such as velvet, linen or silk with details of tulle and embroidery. From design, to selecting fabrics and then sewing the clothes as well operating the store, the designer does everything herself. Her studio is located upstairs in the same space as her shop. She spends most of her time on her sewing machine fine-tuning her upcoming summer collection; pleated dresses and skirt ensembles in hues of pink and beige. Timi is also an illustrator and prints her sketches on her dresses and scarves adding a touch of art to her beautiful outfits.

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New collection in the works

The designer grew up between Lebanon and Canada. Fond of drawing and fashion, she went on to study Fashion Prints at Central Saint Martins in London, and pursued internships in the studios of prestigious names such as Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. The onset of her label came through her participation with Starch. The foundation selects top-notch emerging talents every year and offers them an opportunity to display their collection in their Saifi store, along with guidance on the ropes of the fashion industry. Timi’s portfolio was chosen, which gave her a unique hand on experience and visibility for her brand. The designer then took the leap to open her own boutique and step-by-step is now building a promising fashion brand.

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A couple of questions to Timi:

What is your favorite spot in Beirut?

Aside from the balcony at home, my favorite spot is Horsh Beirut. It is an amazing place. I have been there recently, it opens every Saturday, and was pleasantly surprised. It is quiet, there is no litter, no smell of garbage, it actually smells like mountains.

Any fashion tips you would like to share?

I think people should wear whatever they want, no wrongs or rights. From personal experience maybe only buy black underwear; other colours can turn grey in the wash!

Address:
Timi Hayek Boutique
Monot Street, Hayek Building
Achrafieh, Beirut
📱: +961 71 792586
🌍: timihayek.com

Price: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆